Isaac Gracie is only just coming to terms with his talent. Outsiders were aware of it as soon as he uploaded a demo of breakthrough song ‘Last Words’ to Soundcloud in 2015. Industry-types flocked in droves, convinced a future star was taking their first steps. Early fans of Gracie’s music knew it too, showing their fandom like he’d already penned a classic. But as the 23-year-old belts out on the follow-up song ‘Terrified’, there were moments of real self-doubt, questioning whether he was indeed quite “cut out for this.”
Gracie’s eponymous debut album is the sound of an artist bit-by-bit breaking through the hype and the seeds of doubt that stem from heavy expectation. It’s a musician realising he is cut out for this. Most importantly, it documents the warts ‘n all transition from disbelief in one’s own ability to displaying a subtle confidence. Despite existing a thousand miles from the scrappy bedroom demos that brought Gracie to prominence, you first hear the cracks, the strains and the nagging fear that tests every creative. Then you hear the pay-off.
Recorded on-and-off between mid-2015 and late 2017, predominantly overseen by revered producer Markus Dravs (Florence + the Machine, Arcade Fire), Gracie says his first work captures the “darkest, the roughest and most uncertain time in my life,” while managing to examine this turmoil from a distance and a safer sanctuary. Its journey is one of self-reflection, he says, “of asking: ‘What is this?’ ‘Who am I?’ and trying to amicably resolve those questions.” It finds answers, too. After finishing the record, Gracie began to realise his place in the world: “I’ve been gifted an opportunity that barely anyone gets,” he says. “It’s my responsibility to make the most of it.”